1. Initiatives
  2. Carrefour - Composers Residency

In partnership with

National Arts Centre - Canada is our stage

The Carrefour initiative offers a residency for emerging, culturally diverse and/or Indigenous composers. In 2017, the Canada Council for the Arts launched Carrefour in partnership with the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) to promote the advancement of unique voices in orchestral composition in Canada.

About the residency

An internal assessment committee will select up to two composers every two years for the residency. Each composer will be commissioned to compose a work for chamber music in the first year, and an orchestral composition in the second. Each composer will spend six to eight weeks per season with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.  

During their residency in Ottawa, composers will experience the day-to-day life of an orchestra, with access to NAC Orchestra rehearsals and concerts, as well as Canadian and international guest conductors, artists and composers, and other significant programming.

Each composer will also benefit from the direct mentorship of the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s Music Director, Alexander Shelley, the musicians and administration of the NAC Orchestra, as well as promotional and public engagement support from the Canada Council for the Arts.

The selected composers will also have access to the NAC Orchestra resources and library, and each commission will receive workshops in residency weeks beginning in year one.

The composers selected in 2017

Ian Cusson

Ian Cusson


Ian Cusson is a composer of art song, opera and orchestral work. Of Métis and French Canadian descent, his work explores the Canadian Indigenous experience, including the history of the Métis people, the hybridity of mixed-racial identity, and the intersection of Western and Indigenous cultures.

Remy Siu

Remy Siu


Remy Siu is a composer and new media artist of Hong Kong/Chinese descent based in Vancouver. His work involves the construction of automated and variable performance apparatuses that use light, sound, software, and the body.


The initiative is open to emerging, culturally diverse and/or Indigenous composers; it embraces contemporary, innovative, and diverse voices, and supports ground-breaking original musical creation and the development of new Canadian orchestral and chamber music.

To qualify, an applicant must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • be able to invest in a two year program with travel to and from Ottawa (travel expenses will be paid for by the Canada Council/NAC, as described below)
  • be available to begin in fall 2019 or winter 2020


Each composer will receive:

  • $40,000 over two years as a stipend for the duration of the residency
  • $16,000 for the two commissions—a chamber work in year one, and an orchestral work in year two

Per diem for the 6 to 8 weeks per season spent in Ottawa with the NAC (to be determined with the composer), including the possibility of a tour and participation in other events

The composers can undertake additional administrative and creative work wherever they are based.  The Canada Council for the Arts and the National Arts Centre will provide:

  • copying for each commission
  • travel to/from Ottawa
  • accommodations in Ottawa
  • workshop ensembles for each commission
  • further opportunities for public engagement and national artistic collaborations


Interested composers must submit an application, by email to carrefour@canadacouncil.ca, including:

  • a letter of interest, including the composer’s artistic vision for the residency
  • a full curriculum vitae

online links and audio or audiovisual examples, and two (2) scores (if available)


If eligible, your application to Carrefour will be assessed by an internal committee, which will consist of representatives from the Canada Council and the Music Director of the National Arts Centre.

Deadline and Allocated Amount

17 July, 2019


over two years as a stipend for the duration of the residency


for the two commissions - a chamber work and an orchestral work

Per diem

for the 6 to 8 weeks participation per season in Ottawa with the NAC

About Alexander Shelley and the National Arts Centre Orchestra  

In September 2015, Alexander Shelley took up the mantle as Music Director, leading a new era for the National Arts Centre’s Orchestra. Shelley has an unwavering reputation as one of Europe’s leading young conductors, notably as Chief conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, and most recently as the Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Formed in 1969 at the opening of Canada's National Arts Centre, the NAC Orchestra gives over 100 performances a year with renowned artists, including Itzhak Perlman, Renée Fleming, James Ehnes, Emanuel Ax, and Yo-Yo Ma. The orchestra is noted for the passion and clarity of its performances and recordings, its ground-breaking teaching and outreach programs, and the nurturing of Canadian creativity. Since its inception, the Orchestra has commissioned 80 works, mostly from Canadian composers.

For more information

Canada Council for the Arts

E-mail: carrefour@canadacouncil.ca

Stefani Truant

National Arts Centre Orchestra

Associate Artistic Administrator

613-947-7000, ext. 637